From AMS Glossary
The term for solid or liquid particles found in the air.
Some particles are large or dark enough to be seen as soot or smoke. Others are so small they can be detected only with an electron microscope. Because particles originate from a variety of mobile and stationary sources, their chemical and physical compositions vary widely. Particulate matter can be directly emitted or can be formed in the atmosphere when gaseous pollutants such as sulfur dioxide (SO2) and [[NOx]] react to form fine particles.